Conference: Social and Ethical Frontiers in Space Exploration Kiruna, Sweden, 23-25 September 2024: A joint meeting of the European Astrobiology Institute and the Society for Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology

About the Summer School

This meeting  will bring scholars, students, politicians, journalists and other stakeholders together to discuss the ethical, political legal, societal and environmental aspects of space exploration.

The meeting is co-organised by the European Astrobiology Institute and the Society for Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology

The conference will take place at Malmfälten Adult Education Centre in Kiruna, Sweden.  Kiruna is 300 km north of the arctic circle and home to the Swedish ESRANGE Space Center and Rocket Range.  This promises to be a conference to remember, as it takes place during Lapland’s beautiful Indian Summer, which offers good prospectives for viewing the Northern Lights, and features tours of the Space Center and other local attractions along with an interesting and highly interdisciplinary program.

Experts from every discipline interested in exploring the many complex social and ethical questions raised by space exploration and the search for life on other planets are invited to attend the first joint meeting of the two major groups devoted to this end.  We welcome submissions addressing any of the many “broader questions” in astrobiology and space exploration such as:

  • Commercial activity in space
  • Human colonization of other worlds
  • The true nature of “life”’
  • Emerging issues in space law
  • Ethical questions regarding the search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence
  • Balancing diverse cultural perspectives in space research
  • Space Mining  and ownership of space “resources”
  • First Contact protocols
  • “Pollution” in the context of space
  • Societal and religious implications of a possible discovery of extraterrestrial life
  • Fictional portrayals of space

This year, we are very fortunate to have two excellent keynote speakers:  

Dr. Erica Nesvold has published two books on space, ethics, and social justice: Off-Earth: Ethical Questions and Quandaries for Living in Outer Space, authored by her and published by MIT Press, is adapted and updated from my Making New Worlds podcast. Reclaiming Space: Progressive and Multicultural Visions of Space Exploration, from Oxford University Press, is an anthology she has co-edited with James Schwartz and Linda Billings.

Dr. Tony Milligan from Kings College, London.  Dr. Milligan’s research focuses on otherness: other humans, other creatures, other places and how the shift between here and there alters our sense of what matters.  His work in space ethics includes Nobody Owns the Moon: The Ethics of Space Exploitation (MacFarland, 2015) and the co-edited volume The Ethics of Space Exploration (Springer, 2016).

The Venue

Kiruna, located some 200 miles north of the arctic circle, is home to the Swedish Estrange Space Center and Rocket Range.  At this time of year, attendees should be able to see both splendid fall colors as well as the Northern Light.

The best option is to fly to Kiruna. Kiruna has an airport (IATA code: KRN) with 2 daily flights. You can take the train to Kiruna but it takes around 15 hours from Stockholm. Please note that the railway station of Kiruna has shifted due to the replacement of the city. There are also long-range buses going to Kiruna. To use those options, however only pays when you are planning a longer stay in Sweden with some stop-overs. From Kiruna Station it is best to take a taxi. You can book a taxi with Taxi Kiruna (++46-(0)980-12020)



Participants have to book their accommodation on their own. However, a block booking for our conference has been made at the following locations:

Malmfälten Adult Education Centre

Malmfälten Adult Education Centre offers different forms of accommodation in our total of 39 rooms. Bed linen, towels and final cleaning are always included in the price. TV and WC are available in all rooms. Many rooms also have private showers. Free internet connection and free parking for our guests. Access to sauna and shared kitchen / living room for self-catering and pleasant get-togethers exists. At the hotel you stay comfortably in one of our 18 rooms.

Choose between single, double and triple rooms (works as an alcove room – that is, with a single room in the double room) Private toilet / shower and TV are in the room. Free Wifi available. All rooms are ready on arrival. And beds are made. Prices range from EUR 70 – EUR 90,- for single rooms and EOR 120,- – 140,- for double rooms (per room). Breakfast is included.

Please contact the hotel directly (email: or, phone: ++46-(0)-980 675 00 ) and mention the booking number 55203 (Stockholms universitet). You will then get an offer. Deadline for room booking is 31 July 2023. Thereafter, accommodation cannot be guaranteed.


Hotel Camp Ripan

The 90 hotel rooms of Camp Ripan are cosy cabins with private entrances. It includes cable TV, telephone, internet access, bathroom with shower, WC and hairdryer. The kitchen area has a table and chairs, and the pantry is equipped with refrigerator, electric kettle, microwave oven, two cooking plates, pots and pans, plates, utensils, cups, glasses and cork screw.

You can park your automobile right outside the cabin and in winter you rent an electrical outlet for a block heater at our general parking area. InCharge offers eight charging stations for electric vehicles outside the main building, payment is done using their app.

The price for a single person in a hut is SEK 1592,- per night (~ EUR 140). For two persons in a hut it is SEK 1772,- per hut (~EUR 160) and night. Prices include room cleaning. There are also huts for up to 4 people. Early booking is recommended for those!

Booking the room contact the hotel per e-.mail ( giving the reference number: 395988.

Deadline for room booking is 31 July 2023. Thereafter, accommodation cannot be guaranteed.


The Programme

The program starts Monday September, 23rd in the morning and ends on Wednesday September, 24th in the evening. On Tuesday 24th we will organize a half day’s excursion to ESRANGE Rocket Launch Centre and the Sami (indigenous) Open Air Museum at Jukkasjärvi, along with a traditional Northern Swedish dinner.

Deadline for abstract submission is the 1 June 2024. Deadline for Registration AND accommodation booking (which has to be done individually by participants directly with the hotels) will be 30 June 2024


You are very welcome to submit an abstract using the Abstract form available as a .doc file for a presentation or poster (please specify in your email) by June 1, 2024 to EAI chair ( and the program chair, Kelly Smith ( Graduate students are especially encouraged to apply. Deadline for abstract submission is June 1st, 2024.

A limited number of bursaries for students and early career scholars (up to 8 years from their first Ph. D. in a related field) from US and EAI institutions (see a list here) will be available. Please specify in your email if you want to apply for a bursary. A list of the EAI participating entities can be found here. Membership in one of the Working Groups or Project Teams alone does NOT entitle you to the EAI participating institution fee.

Registrations include

3 lunches from 23 to 25 September
5 coffee breaks
conference materiel
For registrations please use the buttons below. Registration deadline is 30 June 2024. Please note that after the registration deadline no refunds of paid registration fees will be possible after the registration deadline. Please also be aware that registration does not imply accommodation booking, which has to be done by participants individually.

Please note that we do not work with travel agencies. Payments should only made to ESF (via this website) and to hotels. Any mails from other “agencies” are fraudulent.


Registration for Students

Affiliated with EAI participating institutions and members of SSOCIA

Dietary requirements


Registration for Scholars

Affiliated with EAI participating institutions and members of SSOCIA

Dietary requirements


Registration for Students

NOT affiliated with EAI participating institutions and members of SSOCIA

Dietary requirements


Registration for Scholars

NOT affiliated with EAI participating institutions and members of SSOCIA

Dietary requirements


Conference Excursion

Dietary requirements